East Africa 2012

7½ months - with Melanie - Toyota Hiace 4x4 van

Bujora - Sukuma museum

July 28, 2012  —  Tanzania
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We visited this museum for two reasons. The first was that we wanted to learn about one of the many cultures (tribe) in the country. The second was that the founder of the museum and the church attached to it is a Quebec missionary; Father David Clement.

A feature of this place is that the Sukuma people, with the help of father Clement, have preserved a good part of their customs and beliefs despite being converted to Catholicism.

Several African tribes have lost their traditions after the arrival of colonialists and missionaries. This priest wanted the people to keep their traditions while embracing a new religion. The Sukuma people have a great admiration for what he did for them.

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Traditional house.
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Traditional house.
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The museum provides a glimpse of what were the Sukuma customs and preserve examples through a nice collection of antiques.

On this picture, one can see a theatre where two dance groups were facing each other in a friendly way. The audience chose the best team by shouting for them.

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The game of Bao (or Isolo in Sukuma language) is a popular game in Africa. It seems that several dozen variant rules exist. The basic rules are simple enough, but all the regional variants make the game complicated to understand.
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This building contained the royal drums. These were as important as the king himself. If a neighbouring tribe was vanquished, the royal drums were recovered by the victors. It was a symbol of power on another tribe.

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Wood and stick to light a fire by friction.
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The blacksmith extracted iron from these rocks.
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A calculation method for children, adults, blacksmiths, shepherds... Each figure matches a different word for each group.
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Antique finery for dignitaries.
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Melanie on a royal throne.
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The last kings.
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Objects from everyday life.
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Objects from everyday life.
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The following three pictures illustrate a healer's house, and objects he was using for his work.

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Healer house.
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Healer house.
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Objects used by dance groups.
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Objects used by dance groups.
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Drums for music and dance.
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Father Clement has founded a church that conserves a part of the belief of the Sukuma People.

At the time, Father Clement was denigrated by the Church, since it was going to destroy the religion by allowing these people to keep their traditions.

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Black Christ.
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Traditional seats.
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Identical roof to those of ancient time.
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Tombstone of Father Clement (his body is in Quebec)
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Horne-shaped furniture.
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One of the customs of the Sukuma culture is dancing to the rhythm of drums. We had the chance to be invited to a wedding where the local traditional dance group would be doing a show for the guests.

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With the current priest, we took part in the ceremony in honour of the bride and groom. We ate there and were seating in the front row to watch the dance show.

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A traditional dance show.
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The snake (python) is a key part of Sukuma tradition. There is always one associated with the dance and music.
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The snake is 'presented' to the bride and groom.
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